How to minimize appearance of cracks in painted cabinet doors

linnea56December 2, 2008

Sorry if this is long. My brother and his wife bought a long low cabinet with doors to use as a base for their flat screen TV. It is distressed and painted, with the doors being further painted with an asian floral design and an umber glaze over that. It is from a Home Goods store. They know it is not a finely made piece of furniture but still really like it. Shortly after they bought it (a month?) they heard sharp cracking sounds and found the doors had split horizontally in several places. They asked my opinion when I came over about what they could do to fix it. They do not want to return it. It was inexpensive but an unusual shape which fits the room perfectly. I will ask for advice here before I suggest something to them.

I examined it. The cracks are narrow (maybe a millimeter) and are only on the doors. The frame of the piece is fine and still very solid, no loose joints. You can see through the cracks that there is what looks like a thin layer of gesso under the paint, on the doors only. ItÂs the thin line of white gesso that makes the crack show more.

So tell me if IÂm wrongÂI said it would continue to crack, that the wood was probably not dried enough before manufacturing. It probably started cracking at the start of furnace season. I looked inside where the wood is only stained and not painted. It looks like pine but may be something else from the far east. Though the doors are painted on the outside the inside is not painted. Maybe uneven tension caused the cracking. The cracks follow the lines of the joined strips of wood but do not go all the way through to the inside. You can see some crazing of the paint that exposes tiny slivers of white gesso. I said not to fill the cracks, it would just crack again. I suggested they run a brush with dilute acrylic paint inside the cracks to tint the gesso to generally match the colors on the doors. Since it has a "distressed" finish if they just minimize the visibility of the cracks they can just pretend this is more distressing. If they actually filled the cracks it would be almost impossible to match the paint on the doors considering the cracks are running through an elaborate painted design.

Tell me if I am correct or should advise something else. Thanks!

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A lot of nice looking, inexpensive furniture is made in Far East countries that have a lot of humidity. As long as the stuff stays local, it is fine. Once it is exported, further drying occurs---and CRACK!

Your assessment of the situation is right, as well. Uneven/different finishes allow for uneven drying/ageing/weathering.

There is little that can be done to stop/minimize the drying/cracking. They can do whatever they feel makes the piece look the best.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2008 at 2:24PM
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